Nature Notebook Warning!

by Teri Brown

Warning! The Charlotte Mason nature notebooks can have an amazing affect on your children. They may leave your children with an insatiable appetite for science. Which is a good thing … if you like science. Don’t get me wrong, as my son prepares himself for a life of biology in the Fish and Wildlife fields, I am thankful for the early science training given to him by nature observation. I just don’t happen to like science much!

We started keeping the nature notebooks when he was about five. If he could force himself to sit still long enough, he would draw pictures of the bugs we found, but he far preferred picking them up for a closer look. Specimen of all sorts found their way into the little nature bags we carried to be shown to Dad once we were home. If this is science, I thought, it’s not so bad. I rather enjoyed the quiet observations.

I was wrong. Several nature notebooks later I had a full-fledged scientist on my hands with no idea how to keep him challenged! Through trial and error, I think I found some ways that even Charlotte Mason might approve of.

To learn about anatomy in an interesting way I contacted my local veterinarian. He agreed to let my son to observe him for a few sessions. It worked out wonderfully, not only allowing my son to learn about animal science in an interesting way, but giving him a bird’s eye view of a science based career.

The fishing trips my husband and son take provide us with loads of information on the lifecycle of salmon and steelhead, fisheries practices, river ecology and fish to dissect.

My son is a voracious reader of science and outdoor magazines. Discover magazine, National Geographic, Fishing and Hunting News and others have taught him far more than I ever could have.

To obtain more hands on training with professionals we have volunteered with a local river keepers, which is an environmental watchdog group. Not only has my son received erosion training for free but he is also eligible for the six-week river training class. In this class he will learn to check the water temperature, sediment levels, and pH levels.

These are enough for now, but I foresee a time that we will have to obtain a mentor for him. When that happens I will pass his science education over to someone else … and go back to my own little Charlotte Mason Nature Notebook.

–Teri is the scientifically-challenged mother of two unschooled children. Her book, Christian Unschooling, Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ is now available.

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